Press Watch – Bury’s Blues, Sky Blues & Boardroom Blues

Welcome to Press Watch, the Washbag’s sideways glance at all things Town related in the media. If you see anything remotely concerning Swindon Town in the world’s media get in contact with me via Twitter @mrbraindown

Controversy, this column thrives on it. So after spending the past two weeks trawling various websites and blogs for gossip and intrigue, it seems the biggest scandal was to be found closer to home. I felt like a spotty teenager who had wasted an afternoon fruitlessly exploring railway sidings and disused building sites looking for discarded pornography only to return home and find an old copy of Parade caught in the bars of my parents’ front gate.

We’ll come onto Jezzagate later, as first up I need to thank those who tweeted me with words of sympathy concerning my close encounter of the sexy kind with a tramp. Particularly one rather forward individual who tweeted me “I would have charged you £40 for full sex sweet cheeks”. Judging from their androgynous Twitter handle it was unclear as to whether they were male or female, but the sentiment was there.

But everyone is prone to the odd misunderstanding, like the time I was persuaded to buy a rather spiffing suit in the Outlet Village by a rather talkative salesman. He warned me to “be careful as this suit will attract the fluff like you wouldn’t believe!” So after wearing it for about a month and not a hint of any sexy female action I was very angry, I was going to return it but I couldn’t face picking the extraordinarily large amounts of lint and hair that strangely seemed to have accumulated on the fabric.

Right, on with the football and let’s talk Bury away, I’ve always had a fondness for Bury mainly because they provided me with the biggest win I’ve ever witnessed at the County Ground, when in 1979 Town dealt them an 8-0 beating. The Bury team that day featured a very young Danny Wilson don’t you know.

The local rag, The Bury Times, which sounds more like a trade publication for a union of grave diggers, kicks out a pretty standard report. The reporter seems quite happy that his team didn’t crumble after James Collins’ fluke, small mercies then.

“But the fact that Bury did not crumble after going behind to a James Collins fluke inside 30 seconds was at least some comfort to the 53-year-old Shakers boss.”

It still astounds me that local reporters still can’t spell Paolos name correctly, with the oft used Paulo making a welcome return.

“At the other end, Bury’s backline were never given a second on the ball as Paulo Di Canio’s side pressed high up the pitch.”

Stark contradictions with the Bury Times can be found on the Bury-Mad website, where their match reporter knows how to spell Paolo and also heralds James Collins’ effort as ‘Stunning’.

“It was a goal worthy of winning any game, Collins beating Bury goalkeeper Trevor Carson with a stunning 20-yard lob.”

The Bury fans forum, The Mighty Shakers, doesn’t offer much further insight, although they do have two threads dedicated to our transfer embargo. You have to register to view the site, so here’s a screen grab of one of them which made me chuckle.

The match post-mortem thread mainly bemoaned their own team’s shortfall, six pages and not one backhanded jibe aimed towards Di Canio, the team or our appalling fans, this has to be a record!

Speaking of the transfer embargo, the excellent The Two Unfortunates blog carries a fantastic article concerning our recent brush with the financial fair play rules. Hidden within the piece is a link to another article concerning Di Canio, I must have missed it at the time. It does make for an interesting read, but to me it seems the author is just churning out yet another article moaning constantly about how much media coverage Di Canio gets in League One. But in doing so he just feeds and perpetuates the issue, am I the only one that sees the irony in the situation? It’s totally bizarre.

Lets return to some match action and the visit of Coventry City. The Coventry Telegraph is awash with coverage of the ‘big match’. First up is a photo reel which displays eight images covering the furious action. The photographer obviously loves Tommy Miller, as he appears in six of them.

A nice piece focuses on the ‘cov kid’ James Collins and the tragic loss of his best friend, whilst in resulting comments section the Coventry fans morn the tragic loss of their ‘number one’ summer transfer target. Although some are not so supportive of Mr Collins’ inflammatory goal celebration, with ExPatriot getting quite upset – the spelling mistakes below are not mine but he/she was obviously so angry at the disgracefulness of the pathetic liar he/she couldn’t type properly:

“I witnessed at first hand this disgaceful action aimed at inciting the City fans. I’m afraid Master Collins is a liar if he maintains his so called ‘celebration’ was in support of his late friend Dec which makes his actions even more indefensible and pathetic. Collins knows he was in the wrong and now uses his frends death as an excuse for his actions. What a sad individual,”

Thankfully some perspective is given courtesy of CovCity1991:

“You need to seriously take at look at your priorities if you get uptight about a young lad being excited and celebrating over scoring a goal so he can dedicate it to a mate who’s just died! It’s a football match, there are more important things in life. Give the lad a break!”

Although ExPatriot isn’t the only person who gets a bit hot under the collar, with manager Mark Robins getting cross with Swindon’s ‘Strong-arm’ tactics, it’s a nice piece coupled amazingly with yet another photo of that man Tommy Miller.

Am I the only person who think that Coventry’s City Link sponsorship is a bit odd as you really can’t make it out at all? It’s almost as if the Chief Exec was thinking ‘Damn it, for the next five years we’ve tied our brand in with a failing team on a downward spiral, thus associating our delivery service with piss poor performance, so how on earth can we lessen the damage?”

Right, I’m bored of football now, let’s talk about boardroom battles. Wow, did anyone see this coming at all? I remember laughing at the person who texted in to BBC Swindon after the Coventry game who said it was time for Wray to go.

It is testament to Wray’s popularity with the fans that the Swindon supporting masses went into absolute meltdown on hearing the news. The forums were chock full of guesswork and conjecture, anger and rage, I’m sure not many clubs fan base would have the same reaction to the removal of their chairman. I think that word is key to the whole debate, removal. It gives the impression of a sacking, when in truth he was asked to remain on the board but make way in a boardroom personnel shuffle. Perhaps Wray saw some truth in the Ken Bates classic rant “an ex-chairman is a nobody” and therefore declined the offer.

These sorts of boardroom moves happen frequently in other businesses. In fact, only the other week at my work a new chairman was bought in, the old one shuffled to the Chief Executive role and the Marketing Director dramatically morphed into the Head of System Operations.

I’ll freely admit, I have no idea whether Wray was actually a good chairman, or even a mediocre one for that matter – he was obviously better than some! Wray was certainly open with the media, friendly, approachable and acted as good mouthpiece for the club – it is this combination and subsequent loss of these rare qualities that the fan base are left morning this week – not the fact he was a brilliant chairman.

The main thing that was causing such heartache was the lack of explanation behind the removal, thankfully most were appeased thanks to the welcome tweets by the man at the centre of the mystery, Andrew Black himself:

The drama didn’t escape the Guardian Football Weekly podcast, where Football League expert John Ashdown announces the big news, skip to 31:10 if you just want to hear the snippet.

Our fiercest rivals, ahem, Shrewsbury Town, were loving our ‘misfortune’ on their forum, if you want to know just how wrong and misinformed a group of people can be check it out.

Athough the Shrews’ fans were not alone in making up mad, conspiracy theories though, I scrutinised many a Swindon forum and saw some really bonkers stuff, mainly from the Adver comments section. I mean, if you want to make up stuff about the clubs future at least be creative – which is what I’ve done, so why not try my childish STFC fortune teller to determine what will happen in the coming weeks! The rules are the same as those utilised in the playground – first pick your favourite Board Member/Investor, count the number of letters in their name, then choose your least favourite manager, repeat and unfold – hey presto! You have your Swindon future statement right there.

Click to enlarge, download then print and let the STFC Fortune Teller work it’s magic

So let’s finish on a happy note – are you worried that your German army surplus shirt purchased from Bob Russells is still in fashion? Don’t worry yourself, of course it is!!!! (BTW, is that shop still in existence?)

Are you worried that Di Canio will leave? Well if he does there is one job he wants more than any!

Till next time.


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